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College Costs are Going Down - and Other Education Trends Worth Noticing

Photo of author, Will Carter, JD.
Will Carter, JD
Senior Advisor

One of the most emotionally and financially discomforting issues faced by parents of young children is how to pay for college education.

For deep-rooted biological reasons, we are, as a species, genetically pre-disposed to putting our children’s needs before our own. This fact, combined with the fact that a college education is the most reliable path to earn enough to live a good life, means that our clients often will sacrifice meaningful opportunities to improve their own financial situation (e.g., funding retirement and paying down high interest debt) in order to save money for their children’s college.

Though it is an understandable and noble impulse to save money for kids’ future college costs at the expense of parents’ own financial future, it is not something that should be done without reflecting on different possibilities. To encourage my clients to re-examine their automatic assumptions about how best to approach the funding of their children’s college, I sometimes begin by sharing a shocking fact: Actual costs of what people are paying (not the “published” tuition price) for college are dropping (see pages 22-24 of The College Board’s 2014 Trends in Higher Education.)

Even more important is to understand why this is happening, and how pricing pressure reveals new possibilities for earning a college degree that most of our clients cannot even imagine. For further discussion, give your McKinley Carter advisor a call!

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